Bonds' Ecko: 'stupid'
Wednesday, September 19, 2007
(09-19) 04:00 PDT Phoenix -- Barry Bonds does not think much of Marc Ecko, the clothes designer who bought his 756th home run ball for a shade more than $750,000 and is asking people on the Internet how to dispose of it.
"He's stupid. He's an idiot," Bonds said. "He spent $750,000 on the ball and that's what he's doing with it? What he's doing is stupid."
An injured Bonds spoke before watching the Giants fall to Arizona 5-0 Tuesday night in what likely was Jonathan Sanchez's final start of the season. Sanchez allowed four runs in the first inning, then left with a recurrence of a left-oblique strain. Diamondbacks rookie Micah Owings pitched a two-hitter for his first shutout.
Bonds' issue with Ecko was not that one of the three choices on the 756-ball ballot is sending it to Cooperstown branded with an asterisk, an implication that his record is tainted by alleged steroid use. Bonds merely suggested the guy could have found a better use for three-quarters of a million large.
The other two options are giving the ball to the Hall of Fame as is or blasting it into space. Bonds pooh-poohed the poll after insisting he heard nothing about it until a Chronicle reporter related the story.
"All of those options don't weigh anything," he said. "In baseball, that number (756) stands."
Thus, if the voters pick blasting the ball into space, do not expect Bonds to watch the launch. He has other issues on his plate, foremost a sprained right big toe, which remains sore. Although he said it felt a little better, he shook his head no when asked if he was getting close to returning.
Manager Bruce Bochy said Bonds might undergo an MRI exam if the injury does not improve before the Giants return home Thursday. There is some urgency even if the team is buried in the National League West basement.
The Giants' seven remaining home games, against Cincinnati and San Diego, could mark Bonds' final chance to play before the fans who have cheered him for 15 seasons. Bonds has said he wants to return but still has no clue if he will be invited back.
"Ask Peter Magowan," he said. "He hasn't told me anything. I don't know why you keep asking me. I don't own the team."
Management has said it will not address Bonds' future until the season ends. He has been down this road before, playing possible "final games" with the Giants in 2001 and 2006 only to be re-signed both times.
There is a greater sense that now, as a rebuilding team, the Giants will cut the strings, but when asked if he plans to soak in these last games, Bonds said, "I don't think this is my last time playing baseball. I have nothing to soak in, brother."
The Diamondbacks soaked up hits like a sponge in the first inning Tuesday night. Sanchez threw 36 pitches, allowed five singles and two walks, and retired one of his eight hitters. The other two outs were made on the bases, including a great throw to second by Bengie Molina to end Eric Byrnes' streak of successful steal attempts at 30.
When Sanchez returned to the dugout, he told Bochy about his side ache, which the lefty said prevented him from following through on his pitches, decreasing their effectiveness.
Sanchez said the injury does not feel as severe as the original oblique strain, which landed him on the disabled list in July, and that he might be able to pitch again before the season ends. But the team is not about to take chances with a good, young pitcher.
"At this stage, it doesn't look like he'll pitch again," Bochy said. "We'll get it checked when we get back home. It doesn't look like he pulled it bad."
The four-run first settled the game. Owings held the Giants to a Dave Roberts single and Pedro Feliz double, not bad considering he had won only once since June 20. Bochy's bullpen held Arizona to a Mark Reynolds homer (against Dan Giese) in seven innings.
Scott Atchison was particularly effective in three shutout innings, ending when he caught a Conor Jackson liner so fierce it bruised his hand underneath the glove.
Atchison and Pat Misch are the top candidates to take Sanchez's turn in the rotation against the Reds on Sunday.
E-mail Henry Schulman at firstname.lastname@example.org.
This article appeared on page D - 1 of the San Francisco Chronicle